'Give us gardens!' said the artist,
'Blatant brick and soulless stone,
Never built a noble city.
Man lives not by bread alone,
Beauty brings, for our enrichment,
Smiling lawn and spreading tree.'
'Bricks and mortar,' said the alderman,
'Bring in more £.s.d.'

As acid and alkali,
Water and fire,
The good and the evil,
Discension inspire;
As the cat and the dog,
And the axe and the tree,
So artists and aldermen
Never agree.

Said the artist: 'Give us gardens!
So to save the civic soul,
Draw aesthetic men about you
Ere base ideals take control.
Let artistic minds advise you,
Lest you pay a shameful price.'
'And who,' inquired the alderman,
'Needs any such advice?'

As the cop and the crook,
As the fool and the sage,
As light and the darkness,
Hot youth and old age
As the lamb and the lion,
The ant and the bee,
So artists and aldermen,
Never agree.

More verses by Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

Advertisement